What To Do When Your Elderly Loved One’s Personality Changes

elderly loved one's personality changes - nurse helping elderly woman with walker


With aging, it is common to experience your elderly loved one’s personality change and other challenges that can be confusing for both them and their family members. These changes can arise from various factors, including dementia-related conditions and physical health issues. 

Understanding and addressing these changes with compassion is so important for maintaining a supportive and loving relationship with our elderly loved ones during these challenging times.

We encourage you to keep reading to learn what to do when personality changes occur in your elderly loved one.


Recognizing Personality Changes

1. Understand common causes

First, it is important to understand the common causes of why personality changes occur. One of the biggest reasons is Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive disorders that can lead to significant changes in an individual’s behavior and personality. As the brain changes, it affects emotions, thoughts, and actions.

 Another common reason is physical health issues, such as ongoing pain or medication side effects. Chronic pain or the side effects of medications can lead to mood swings, irritability, or anxiety and cause personality changes in your elderly loved one.


2. Identify the signs

If you start to notice shifts in behavior, mood, or overall temperament such as increased aggression, withdrawal, or apathy, this could mean your loved one is experiencing some personality changes. Mood swings and uncharacteristic emotional responses may also indicate personality changes. Also, if your loved one starts acting out of character, displaying unfamiliar traits, or abandoning hobbies they once enjoyed, it could be indicative of personality changes, too.

elderly loved one's personality changes - daughter standing with elderly mother looking out the window


Communicating and Understanding 

It is hard to watch our loved one have a personality change. Most likely, your loved one is struggling with this change too. To best help them through this transition, create a safe space for them to express their feelings and concerns openly. Demonstrate understanding and empathy by acknowledging their emotions and validating their experiences, even if you may not fully comprehend what they’re going through.

We suggest refraining from criticizing or belittling their emotions or actions, and instead, offer patience and understanding, recognizing that their behavior might be a result of underlying health issues. Be sure to offer reassurance.



Seeking Medical Evaluation

It is never a bad idea to share your concerns with your loved one’s primary care physician. A healthcare professional can evaluate their health and suggest the appropriate next steps to take. You may even be able to obtain a referral to see a specialist that can conduct more in-depth assessments to identify any underlying conditions and help set up a treatment plan.

elderly loved one personality changes - American doctor talking to senior man


Providing a Supportive Environment

One of the best things you can do for your elderly loved one experiencing personality changes is to create a structured routine. This will provide stability and reduce anxiety for your loved one, enhancing their overall well-being. Familiar objects and cherished memories can also offer comfort and a sense of security, helping your loved one feel more at ease. 

elderly loved one's personality changes - caregiver serving healthy lunch to senior


If you are struggling,

Do not hesitate to reach out to CareHeartedly for compassionate and professional care for seniors. We would love to support you during these challenging changes. We offer companion care, respite and overnight care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, and more!

By offering understanding, support, and appropriate care, we can help them navigate through personality changes with dignity and grace. Reach out to CareHeartedly today!


Contact Care Heartedly Today!